Are We the Only Humans on Earth?
For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings have evolved to adapt to the environment of the times. And, today only one species of human beings dwells on this Big Blue Blip in space. However, it was not always this way.
Around 300,000 years, 3,600,000 months, 110,000,000 days ago, similar to we see in bugs, cats and dogs, ancient humans, more scientifically, ‘hominin’ too were a multi-species inhabitant of planet Earth. So how did Homo sapiens lead the legacy of all the former species? Did we kill the other species? Were we the sharpest, strongest and most equipped to deal with the changing times? Let us find out!
Anthropologists suggest that there were up to nine species of human beings living simultaneously at one point in time. These include the most famous, ‘Homo Neanderthalensis’ or ‘Neanderthals’ who were expert marksmen, stocky hunters with well-developed muscles in limbs, adapted to the harsh and cold of the European steppes.
Similarly, the others include the related ‘Denisovans’ from the Northern confines of Asia, the more primitive ‘Homo Erectus’ that lived in the islands around South East Asia, in particular in Indonesia, the ‘Homo Rhodesiensis’ that were endemic to the arid climatic regions surrounding Central Africa, the ‘Homo Naledi’ that dwelled in South Africa who were a short, small-brained species of humans, the ‘Homo Luzonensis’ that dwelled in and around the Luzon caves in the Philippines, the ‘Homo Floresiensis’ or the ‘hobbit people’ dwelling in the Flores islands in Indonesia, characterised by their stunted growth and chimp-sized brains, and the Red Deer Cave People who were mysteriously discovered in China with unique cranial and jaw patterns resembling that of the apes.
However, now there is just one, the ‘Homo Sapiens’, characterised by their strong capacity to rationalise, think consciously, apply logic, communicate in complex language, among others.
Moreover, it would be incorrect to suggest that this list of hominin species is exhaustive. Many of these species were only recently unearthed during excavations. Hence, it can be rightly assumed that in the due course of time, we shall discover more about our ancestors and perhaps even discover new species of ancient humans.
So what happened to our ancestors? Did we use our wit to wipe out their coarse livelihood? Did natural phenomena eradicate their existence? Were they dinner for the dinosaurs? These questions about human evolution have bothered scientists ever since Charles Darwin published his conceptions of the theory of human evolution.
It is clear, according to several research sources, that the extinction of these primitive human societies was not a result of environmental phenomena such as abrupt and drastic Climate Change or an Asteroid as seen in Deep Impact.
It was due to the flourishing of a newer, more evolved species of humans, the ‘homo sapiens’ or, ‘us’.
In history, homo sapiens have been the most dangerous and the most versatile of the human species.
We lived with Sabre-toothed Cats, hunted Woolly mammoths, survived arctic temperatures of the Ice Age, destroyed forests to pave the way for agriculture, forged weapons since the Stone Age, we transversed the seas and spread our population across the globe, we’ve altered Earth’s atmospheric conditions, we’ve fought wars with each other over natural resources such as water and land.
Above all, we now occupy the highest position on the food chain. But the question remains- For how long?